Kingdom of Swaziland
H.E. MR. CLIFFORD S. MAMBA
DURING THE 58TH SESSION
NEW YORK OCTOBER 1, 2003
It is an honour and privilege for me to present my country's statement as commanded by His Majesty King Mswati III.
Allow me to convey the greetings and best wishes of His Majesty King Mswati III and Her Majesty the Indlovukazi and indeed the entire Swazi nation.
We are gathered here to chart the way forward towards the creation of a world fit for all of us by the turn of the century and beyond. Over the past year, we witnessed dramatic events that brought about old and new issues to the forefront. The international situation has relapsed into the old state of uncertainty. International leadership, be it by the major powers or the United Nations, has become vague as confrontations at the interstate and intra-state levels increased. Our inability to collectively stand against many issues that afflict each individual country differently has been cited by our detractors as marking the beginning of the end of the organization and multilateralism.
The United Nations needs to send a clear message to its detractors that it is alive and well, and that it will and indeed must play a major role in the post-cold war era. All must know that the UN is a major forum for consultation, coordination and collective decisions on crucial socio-political and economic issues among its members and that its strength and relevance' has never come from affirming the designs of a few selected member nations but instead, rests on the collective will of the International Community that emerges from a multilateral process.
In our interdependent world, the need to strengthen the multilateral process is now more urgent than ever before, if we are to achieve our common goal of a just and humane international order based on international cooperation and solidarity. This is a challenge that must be squarely and urgently addressed and remedial action be taken here at the United Nations. We can stand tall and proud that two years ago, the response by the United Nations to a new and unprecedented level of terrorism was immediate, united and effective.
The response was a model for international unity of purpose and multilateral action; it was a lesson which should not be forgotten as the organization tackles other problems confronting humanity. Mr. President, allow me at this point to pay tribute to H.E. Mr. Sergio Viera de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary General, other United Nations Staff and support staff who lost their lives in the terrible tragedy in Baghdad a few weeks ago. Once more, terrorism has shown us its ugly face indeed its only ugly face and how important it is to support the United Nation's efforts to deal with it.
Despite the best intentions and efforts of regional organizations and the United Nations, a scourge of a different nature continues to threaten many parts of the world. I refer here to the threat of internal and inter-state conflicts around the world. Events in some parts of the word continue to be of grave concern to us all. People continue to expend valuable energy and resources in fighting each other. The international community has ' a responsibility not only to design appropriate strategies for a measured and early response, but also to find ways and means of addressing their root cause and managing them to a peaceful resolution.
There are positive indications that political conflict and turmoil in Africa will be eliminated and there is hope for building stability and economic progress. In the face of dwindling Official Development Assistance and lack of comparable resources, the creation of the African Union and its New Partnership for Africa's Development programme are commendable initiatives to bring Africa closer to the mainstream of international development, to generate sustainable economic growth, eradicate poverty and the spread of disease.
What is needed now are resources and we appeal that every effort be made by our developed partners to ensure that these initiatives achieve a breakthrough for African development. Also, the international community should concentrate its efforts toward making development more inclusive and must ensure that particular groups of vulnerable countries, in particular small developing states are not left out of the global economy and the development process. With the ongoing revitalization of the General Assembly and its integrated implementation and follow up to the outcome of the major UN conferences and Summits, we are hopeful that the aspirations of our countries for sustainable development and peace will be met.
The situation in the Middle East continues to be a matter of great concern. We urge both parties to renew their commitment to the road map for peace and agree on a mechanism of achieving everlasting peace. We are pleased to note that a significant level of consensus on the main elements of a settlement; has emerged. We further urge both parties to take advantage of this and proceed towards negotiations involving the leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel.
It is regrettable that the threat of a nuclear holocaust still haunts us even this day due to the inability of the international community, to work out a regime for total elimination of nuclear weapons. Under the Non Proliferation Treaty on Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (C TBT), we have made significant gains on the issue of nuclear disarmament but these alone cannot eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons. The Kingdom of Swaziland continues to hold the view that the international community must effectively address this matter in order to establish a clear timetable to which all nuclear powers must commit.
In the struggle to outlaw weapons of mass destruction is the urgent need to address the issue of small arms and light weapons which have contributed to conflict and insecurity to many of our countries. Their easy accessibility, fuelled by illicit brokering is a major cause for concern. We appeal to all countries to fully implement the recommendations contained in the program of action adopted by the UN Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons held New York in 2001, with a view to combat this practice.
Economic growth is essential
to meet the Millennium Development Goals, in particular the first
goal of eradicating poverty. In our quest to develop quietly and peacefully
according to the wishes of the Swazi nation, this past June, His Majesty
King Mswati launched the country's first draft Constitution; an exercise
that has been hailed by many as a document with a good
Despite our best efforts, the Kingdom of Swaziland continues to find progress difficult to achieve in the face of huge obstacles, with the greatest being the threat to our future by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Its devastating impact in Swaziland is well documented. No sector of development is immune from the consequences of the very high and increasing HIV infection rate amongst our people, with an enormous strain placed on our financial and human resources. However, we are grateful to the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS; and hopes are now high. Notwithstanding the inherent delays in processing our applications to the Fund, the arrival of the first disbursements from the Fund in August has increased hope for thousands of the affected and infected population.
We are now able to embrace the approved strategies of medical care including those that reduce mother to child transmission of the virus, the prescription of anti-retrovirals for those who need them. The last High-level Special session on HIV/AIDS held here a few days ago was of critical importance to Swaziland, we are positive that the conclusions reached at that session will be critical in our endeavor to find solutions to this pandemic.
As part of His Majesty's initiative to promote global awareness of the pandemic and to raise funds that will help those of us afflicted with the dreadful consequences of the disease, the much awaited album by international artists entitled "songs for life" was launched by His Majesty here at the UN, Washington and Los Angeles in June of this year. We look forward with great confidence to the success of the album whose proceeds will go entirely to HIV/AIDS programmes.
Closely linked with the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the food security situation that continues to affect the Southern African region. The Kingdom of Swaziland is hard hit by food shortages largely due to the failure of rains particularly in the rural areas where communities are entirely dependent on farming. As food shortage grips us tighter, we are grateful to the UN and its affiliated agencies for their effort to help us arrest the crises and as we approach this farming season, it is our prayer that the situation will improve.
It could be safely said that there has been an inauspicious start to the 21st century, with globalization, terrorism, disease and weapons of mass destruction at the forefront of our minds. This places all the more responsibility on the UN to harness the resources and commitment of its members for the benefit of humankind. In this effort, there is a compelling need to include all peoples of the world, as envisaged by our founding fathers and as enshrined in the principle of universality. Acknowledging the importance of this principle, the kingdom of Swaziland raises the question of the inclusion once more, of the Republic of China on Taiwan in the activities of the UN and it's associated agencies and our principled position on this important issue remains unchanged.
The ROC on Taiwan has shown time and again its willingness to participate in efforts to bring about true global peace, development and security, as well as commitment to utilize resources for the benefit- of humankind. We therefore fail to understand why the people of Taiwan cannot be part of this great family of nations.
Finally, allow me to thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak before you. The Kingdom of Swaziland reiterates its conviction that the United Nations system remains the best guarantee for international peace and security, we pledge ourselves to work vigorously with the organization to ensure its success.
Thank you, Sir.